There's no denying that the holidays are expensive. Between buying presents for family, friends + co-workers, hosting holiday parties or attending them with an enviable host(ess) gift in hand, it's easy to get swept up in the generous spirit of the season and dismiss more practical maxims like "it's the thought that counts, not how much you spend". While gift swaps like Secret Santa and White Elephant have helped our wallets from feeling the pinch, there are several other things you can do to minimize the damage to your bottomline. We like these tips because they don't just apply to holiday shopping but shopping in general. Follow our money saving tips to ensure you wake up in January in the green and feeling great, sans a major holiday hangover.
3 Tips To Avoid A Holiday Hangover
1. Make A List, Check It Twice
It may sound like a hassle but take the time to make a list of everyone you plan to buy gifts for and set an overall budget. Then break it down by person. Knowing how much you can afford will help avoid big ticket impulse purchases. Simple, yet effective.
2. Be Ruthless With Discount Codes
Around the holidays and in general, you can almost always find a 10%-15% (minimum) discount code just by typing the name of the store and the words "promo code" into Google. RetailMeNot.Com still tends to be the winner in providing the most up-to-date codes, but don't forget about other sites that are built to help you save. A few of our faves:
Travelzoo.com - Travel/Accommodations
Secretescapes.com - Travel/Accommodations
Shopstyle.com - Women's Fashion Comparison Shopping
Savings.com - Coupons For Major Retailers to Lesser Known Brands
Gilt.com - Boutique Sales
Primermagazine.com - Men's Trend/Style
RueLaLa.com - Brand Name Discounts for Men + Women
3. Utilize CapitalOne360's Sub-Saving Accounts
Our favorite financial tip to make the holidays a lot less stressful is to make use of a savings system offered by CapitalOne360 and other online banks these days...the sub-savings account - think of it as a virtual envelope system.
You can set up a number of savings account (for free), nickname them according to what the funds in the account are earmarked for, such as "holiday gifts", and create a recurring auto-debit from your main checking account to fund this account. So let's say you want to have $500 saved up to use on holiday gifts each December. Use this month to set it up so that each month, $42 ($21 bi-weekly) gets moved into this account and by next December you'll be fully funded. It's also great to use this system to siphon money away for building an emergency fund or any other savings goal. This is what it looks like to use the CapitalOne360 system...
SAVINGS ACCOUNTS EXAMPLE:
We won't end this post by telling you that the holidays are more about time spent with friends + family [but we won't deny it either!]. What we will say is that the holidays are certainly not about stress, especially financial stress! Having a plan can help you avoid stress and focus on more important things, like perfecting your gift wrapping skills to pinterest-worthy levels.